Welcome to Gun Rights, Restrictions, and the Second Amendment.
- A review of seven early historical documents from 1215 through 1791 AD found no mention of guns. Four mentioned arms, including the Bill of Rights.
- When the Bill of Rights was ratified on December 15, 1791, there were 64 laws in force in 12 of the 14 states with some legal restrictions on the right of individuals to keep and bear arms.
- Four states had laws in force requiring individuals to have or carry arms in some non-militia and non-military situations on December 15, 1791.
- 43 Supreme Court cases from 1856 to 2017 have confirmed restrictions on the individual right to keep and bear arms.
- In 2008, the Supreme Court held 5-4 that “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia.”
- A 2015 comparison of gun deaths per capita in the United States shows that states with more gun laws had fewer gun deaths per capita.
The site links below should be helpful in understanding the history of gun rights and restrictions across history, the Second Amendment, the 2008 US Supreme Court decision District of Columbia v. Heller, and any rights that we, as individuals, may have to possess guns.
1. Early Historical Documents: A review of seven documents: Magna Carta, 1215; Mayflower Compact, 1620; English Bill of Rights, 1689; Declaration of Independence, 1776; Articles of Confederation, 1781; US Constitution, 1789; and Bill of Rights, 1791.
2. 18th Century Definitions: Definitions for the following words or terms: Arms, Alienable, Bear Arms, God-given Rights, Inalienable, Infringe, Inherent, Militia, Natural Rights, Nonjuror, Patrols, Public, Publick, Restriction, Session Laws, Unalienable.
4. Arms and Public Policy: Details on the following issues: A 1619 law enacted by the First General Assembly of Virginia restricted the sale of private arms; a timeline of passing the Bill of Rights; Five laws in force on December 15, 1791, that required individuals to have or carry arms, independent of the militia and the military; Ten laws requiring individuals to have and carry arms, no longer valid as of December 15, 1791; and post-Heller views on the question of an individual right to arms in the Second Amendment by six of 52 cosigners of an amicus brief filed on September 3, 1999, on behalf of the United States in the 5th Circuit US Court of Appeals case US v. Emerson.
5. 43 US Supreme Court Cases from 1856 to 2017 Related to Restrictions on Arms: A list and summaries of the 43 US Supreme Court cases related to restrictions on arms, from the 1856 Dred Scott v. Sandford decision to Peruta v. California in 2017.
6. D.C. v. Heller: In the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court held by a 5-4 vote that “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.” See opinions, Amicus Curiae Briefs, US Supreme Court cases, and other court cases mentioned in the related cases Parker v. District of Columbia, 311 F.Supp.2d 103, 109 (2004); Parker v. District of Columbia, 478 F.3d 370, 401 (2007); and District of Columbia v. Heller (2008).
- McDonald v. Chicago (561 US 742), a Supreme Court decision dated June 28, 2010: “We therefore hold that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amendment right recognized in Heller. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings.”
- New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc., Et Al., Petitioners V. City Of New York, New York, Et Al. (590 U. S. _), a Supreme Court per curiam opinion stating that the case was no longer relevant: “State of New York amended its firearm licensing statute, and the City amended the rule so that petitioners may now transport firearms to a second home or shooting range outside of the city, which is the precise relief that petitioners requested in the prayer for relief in their complaint. … Petitioners’ claim for declaratory and injunctive relief with respect to the City’s old rule is therefore moot.”
- On June 15, 2020, the United States Supreme Court decided not to take 10 new cases for the next term that dealt with Second Amendment issues.
- Young v. State of Hawaii (No. 12-17808; D.C. No. 1:12-cv-00336- HG-BMK), decided March 24, 2021, by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit: “The en banc court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of an action challenging Hawai‘i’s firearm licensing law, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes § 134-9(a), which requires that residents seeking a license to openly carry a firearm in public must demonstrate ‘the urgency or the need’ to carry a firearm, must be of good moral character, and must be ‘engaged in the protection of life and property.’”
8. National Gun Stats, Unrelated to Our Right to Arms: A 2015 comparison of guns deaths per capita in US states versus the number of gun laws in each state, and the percentage of adults in each state who live in a household with at least one gun, based on an April 2020 RAND Corp. study.